Prussia (German: Preußen (help·info); Latin: Borussia, Prutenia; Latvian: Prūsija; Lithuanian: Prūsija; Polish:Prusy; Old Prussian: Prūsa; Danish: Prøjsen; Russian: Пру́ссия) was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery
For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped thehistory of Germany, with its capital in Berlin after 1451. By 1871, the smaller German city states were merged with Prussia, resulting in the creation of the German Empire. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1T Battery
In November 1918 the royalty abdicated and the nobility lost most of its political power. Prussia was effectively abolished in 1932, and officially abolished in 1947.
The name Prussia derives from the Old Prussians. In the 13th century, "Old Prussia" was conquered by German crusaders, the Teutonic Knights. Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery
In 1308 Teutonic Knights conquered the formerly Polish region of Pomerelia withGdańsk (Danzig). Their monastic state was mostly Germanized through immigration from central and western Germany and in the south it was Polonized by settlers from Masovia. Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery
After the Second Peace of Thorn of 1466, Prussia was split into the western Royal Prussia, a province of Poland, and the eastern part, since 1525 called Duchy of Prussia, a fief of the Crown of Poland up to 1657. The union of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia in 1618 led to the proclamation of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery
Prussia achieved its greatest importance in the 18th and 19th centuries. During the 18th century, it became a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great (1740–1786). During the 19th century, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck united the German principalities into a "Lesser Germany" which would exclude the Austrian Empire. Sony VAIO PCG-7141M Battery
After 1810 Prussia dominated Germany politically, economically, and in population, and was the core of the unifiedNorth German Confederation formed in 1867, which became part of the German Empire or Deutsches Reich in 1871.
The term "Prussian" has often been used, especially outside of Germany, Sony VAIO PCG-7143M Battery
to emphasize the professionalism, aggressiveness, militarism, and conservatism of the Junker class of landed aristocrats in the East who dominated Prussia into the 20th century.
The main coat of arms of Prussia, as well as the flag of Prussia, depicted a black eagle on a white background. Sony VAIO PCG-7151M Battery
The black and white national colours were already used by the Teutonic Knights and by the Hohenzollern dynasty. The Teutonic Order wore a white coat embroidered with a black cross with gold insert and black imperial eagle. The combination of the black and white colours with the white and red Hanseatic colours of the free cities Bremen,Hamburg, Sony VAIO PCG-7154M Battery
and Lübeck as well as of Brandenburg resulted in the black-white-red commercial flag of the North German Confederation, which became the flag of the German Empire in 1871. Suum cuique ("to each, his own"), the motto of the Order of the Black Eagle created by King Frederick I in 1701, was often associated with the whole of Prussia. Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery
The Iron Cross, a military decoration created by King Frederick William III in 1813, was also commonly associated with the country. The region, originally populated by BalticOld Prussians who were Christianised, became a favoured location for immigration by (later mainly Protestant) Germans(see Ostsiedlung), as well as Poles and Lithuanians along the border regions.Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery
Before its abolition, the territory of the Kingdom of Prussia included the provinces of West Prussia, East Prussia,Brandenburg, Saxony (including most of the present-day state of Saxony-Anhalt and parts of the state of Thuringia in Germany), Pomerania, Rhineland, Westphalia, Silesia (without Austrian Silesia), Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery
Lusatia, Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover,Hesse-Nassau, and a small detached area in the south called Hohenzollern, the ancestral home of the Prussian ruling family. The land that Teutonic Prussia occupied was flat and covered with rich soil. The land was perfectly suited to the large-scale raising of wheat. Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery
The rise of early Prussia was based on the raising and selling of wheat. Teutonic Prussia became known as the "bread basket of Western Europe" (in German, Kornkammer, or granary). The port cities of Stettin (Szczecin) in Pomerania, Danzig (Gdansk) in Prussia, Riga in Livonia, Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery
Koenigsberg (Kaliningrad) and Memel (Klaipėda) rose on the back of this wheat production. Wheat production and trade brought Prussia into close relationship with the Hanseatic League during the period of time from 1356 (official founding of the Hanseatic League) until the decline of the League in about 1500. Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery
The expansion of Prussia based on its connection with the Hanseatic League cut both Poland and Lithuania off from the coast of the Baltic Sea and trade abroad. This meant that Poland and Lithuania would be traditional enemies of Prussia—which was still called the Teutonic Knights. Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery
In 1871, Prussia's population numbered 24.69 million, accounting for 60% of the German Empire's population. In 1910, the population had increased to 40.17 million (62% of the Empire's population). In 1914, Prussia had an area of 354,490 km². In May 1939 Prussia had an area of 297,007 km² and a population of 41,915,040 inhabitants. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery
The Principality of Neuenburg, now the Canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, was a part of the Prussian kingdom from 1707 to 1848.
Although Prussia was dominated by Protestant Germans (Lutherans along with some Reformed), it contained millions of Catholics in the west and in Poland. Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery
East Prussia's southern region of Masuria was mostly made up of Germanised Protestant Masurs. There were numerous Catholic populations in the Rhineland and parts of Westphalia. In addition, West Prussia, Warmia, Silesia, and the Province of Posen had predominantly Catholic populations. Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery
In 1871, approximately 2.4 million Poles lived in Prussia, constituting the largest minority. Other minorities were Jews, Danes, Frisians, Kashubians (72,500 in 1905), Masurians (248,000 in 1905), Lithuanians (101,500 in 1905), Walloons, Czechs and Sorbs. Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery
The area of Greater Poland, where the Polish nation had originated, became the Province of Posen after the Partitions of Poland. Poles in this Polish-majority province (62% Polish, 38% German) resisted German rule. Also, the southeast portion of Silesia (Upper Silesia) had a Polish majority. Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery
But Catholics, ethnic Poles and other Slavs, and Jews did not have equal status with Protestants
As a result of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 the Second Polish Republic was granted not only these two areas, but also areas with a German majority in the Province of West Prussia. Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery
After World War II, East Prussia, Silesia, most of Pomerania, and the eastern part of Brandenburg were annexed by either the Soviet Union or Poland.
In 1211 Andrew II of Hungary granted Burzenland in Transylvania as a fiefdom to the Teutonic Knights. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery
In 1225, Andrew II expelled the Teutonic Knights from Transylvania, and they had to transfer to the Baltic Sea. Konrad I, the Polish Duke of Masovia, unsuccessfully attempted to conquer pagan Prussia in crusades in 1219 and 1222. In 1226 Duke Konrad invited the Teutonic Knights, Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery
a Germanmilitary order of crusading knights, headquartered in the Kingdom of Jerusalem atAcre, to conquer the Baltic Prussian tribes on his borders.
During 60 years of struggles against the Old Prussians, the order created an independent state which came to control Prūsa. Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery
After the Livonian Brothers of the Sword joined the Teutonic Order in 1237 they also controlled Livonia (now Latviaand Estonia). Around 1252 they finished the conquest of the northernmost Prussian tribe of the Skalvians as well as the western Baltic Curonians and erected theMemel Castle, which developed into the major port city of Memel (Klaipėda). Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery
The final border between Prussia and the adjoining Grand Duchy of Lithuania was determined in the Treaty of Melno in 1422.
The Hanseatic League was officially formed in 1356 as a group of trading cities in northern Europe which came to have a monopoly on all trade leaving the interior of Europe and Scandinavia and on all sailing trade in the Baltic Sea for foreign countries. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery
The businessmen of the interior Sweden, Denmark and Poland came to feel oppressed by the Hanseatic League.
In the course of the Ostsiedlung process, settlers were invited in, a majority of them Germans. This brought about changes in the ethnic composition as well as in language, culture and law. Low German became the dominant language. Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery
The Knights were subordinate to the pope and the emperor. Their initially close relationship with the Polish Crown deteriorated after they conquered Polish-controlled Pomerelia and Danzig (Gdańsk) in 1308. Eventually Poland and Lithuania, allied through the Union of Krewo (1385), defeated the Knights in the Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg) in 1410. Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery
The Thirteen Years' War (1454–1466) began when the Prussian Confederation, a coalition of Hanseatic cities of western Prussia, rebelled against the Order and requested help from the Polish king. The Teutonic Knights were forced to acknowledge the sovereignty of and to pay tribute to King Casimir IV Jagiellon of Poland in the Second Peace of Thorn (1466), Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery
losing western Prussia (Royal Prussia) to Poland in the process. Pursuant to the Second Peace of Thorn, two Prussian states were established.
In 1525, Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg-Ansbach, a member of a cadet branch of the House of Hohenzollern, became aLutheran Protestant and secularised the Order's remaining Prussian territories into the Duchy of Prussia. Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery
This was the area east of the mouth of the Vistula River, later sometimes called "Prussia proper". For the first time, these lands came into the hands of a branch of the Hohenzollern family. (The Hohenzollern dynasty had ruled the Margraviate of Brandenburg to the west, a German state centered on Berlin, since the 15th century.) Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery
Furthermore, with his renunciation of the Order, Albert could now marry and produce legitimate heirs.
Brandenburg and Prussia were unified two generations later. Anna, granddaughter of Albert I and daughter of Duke Albert Frederick (reigned 1568–1618), married her cousin Elector John Sigismund of Brandenburg. Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery
Upon the death of Albert Frederick in 1618, who died without male heirs, John Sigismund was granted the right of succession to the Duchy of Prussia, which was still a Polish fief. From this time the Duchy of Prussia was in personal union with the Margraviate of Brandenburg. The resulting state, known as Brandenburg-Prussia, Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery
consisted of geographically disconnected territories in Prussia, Brandenburg, and the Rhinelandlands of Cleves and Mark.
During the Thirty Years' War, the disconnected Hohenzollern lands were repeatedly marched across by various armies, especially the occupying Swedes. Sony VAIO PCG-51112M Battery
The ineffective and militarily weak Margrave George William (1619–1640) fled from Berlin to Königsberg, the historic capital of the Duchy of Prussia, in 1637. His successor, Frederick William I (1640–1688), reformed the army to defend the lands.
Frederick William I went to Warsaw in 1641 to render homage to King Władysław IV Vasa of Poland for the Duchy of Prussia, which was still held in fief from the Polish crown. Sony VAIO PCG-51211M Battery
In the first phase of the Second Northern War (1654–1660), he took the duchy as a fief from the Swedish king who later granted him full sovereignty in the Treaty of Labiau. In 1657, this grant was renewed by the Polish king in the treaties of Wehlau and Bromberg. With Prussia, the Brandenburg Hohenzollern dynasty now held a territory free of any feudal obligations, which constituted the basis for their later elevation to kings. Sony VAIO PCG-51212M Battery
Frederick William I became known as the "Great Elector" for his achievements in organizing the electorate, which he accomplished by establishing an absolute monarchy (see absolutism) in Brandenburg-Prussia. Above all, he emphasized the importance of apowerful military to protect the state's disconnected territories, Sony VAIO PCG-41111M Battery
while the Edict of Potsdam opened Brandenburg-Prussia for immigration of Protestant refugees, and he established a bureaucracy to carry out state business efficiently.
On 18 January 1701, Frederick William's son, Elector Frederick III, upgraded Prussia from a duchy to a kingdom and crowned himself King Frederick I. Sony VAIO PCG-41111V Battery
To avoid offending Poland, where a part of the old Prussia lay, Leopold I, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire where most of the lands of Prussia lay, allowed Frederick only to title himself "King in Prussia", not "King of Prussia".Sony VAIO PCG-61412V Battery
The state of Brandenburg-Prussia became commonly known as "Prussia", although most of its territory, in Brandenburg, Pomerania, and western Germany, lay outside of Prussia proper. The Prussian state grew in splendour during the reign of Frederick I, who sponsored the arts at the expense of the treasury. Sony VAIO PCG-71112M Battery
Frederick I was succeeded by his son, Frederick William I (1713–1740) the austere "Soldier King", who did not care for the arts but was thrifty and practical. He is considered the creator of the vaunted Prussian bureaucracy and the professionalized standing army, which he developed into one of the most powerful in Europe, Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
although his troops only briefly saw action during theGreat Northern War. In view of the size of the army in relation to the total population, Mirabeau said later: Prussia, is not a state with an army, but an army with a state. Also, Frederick William settled more than 20,000 Protestant refugees from Salzburg in thinly populated eastern Prussia, which was eventually extended to the west bank of the Memel river, and other regions. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
In the treaty of Stockholm (1720), he acquired half ofSwedish Pomerania.
The king died in 1740 and was succeeded by his son, Frederick II, whose accomplishments led to his reputation as "Frederick the Great". As crown prince, Frederick had focused, primarily, on philosophy and the arts. He was an accomplished flute player. Sony VAIO PCG-81212M Battery
In 1740, Prussian troops crossed over the undefended border of Silesia and occupied Schweidnitz. Silesia was the richest province of Habsburg Austria. It signalled the beginning of three Silesian Wars (1740–1763). The First Silesian War (1740–1742) and theSecond Silesian War (1744–1745) have, historically, been grouped together with the general European war called the War of Austrian Succession (1740–1748). Sony VAIO PCG-81212V Battery
Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI had died on October 20, 1740. He was succeeded to the throne by his daughter,Maria Theresa.
By defeating the Austrian Army at the Battle of Mollwitz on April 10, 1741, Frederick succeeded in conquering Lower Silesia (the northwestern half of Silesia). Sony VAIO PCG-51111M Battery
In the next year, 1742, he conquered Upper Silesia (the southeastern half). Furthermore, in the third Silesian War (usually grouped with the Seven Years War) Frederick won a victory over Austria at the Battle of Lobositz on October 1, 1756. On November 3, 1760 Frederick won another battle—the decisive battle—the Battle of Torgau. Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery
With this victory and the overall victory in the Seven Years War, Frederick, allied with Great Britain, Hanover, and Hesse-Kassel, was able to hold the whole of Silesia against a coalition of Saxony, Austria, France, and Russia. Voltaire, a close friend of the king, once described Frederick the Great's Prussia by saying "...Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
it was Sparta in the morning, Athens in the afternoon." From these wars onwards the Austria–Prussia rivalry dominated German politics until 1866.
Silesia, full of rich soils and prosperous manufacturing towns, became a vital region to Prussia, greatly increasing the nation's area, population, and wealth. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
Success on the battleground against Austria and other powers proved Prussia's status as one of the great powers of Europe. The Silesian Wars began more than a century of rivalry and conflict between Prussia and Austria as the two most powerful states operating within the Holy Roman Empire (although, ironically, both had extensive territory outside the empire). Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery
In 1744 the County of East Frisia fell to Prussia following the extinction of its ruling Cirksena dynasty.
In the last 23 years of his reign until 1786, Frederick II, who understood himself as the "first servant of the state", promoted the development of Prussian areas such as the Oderbruch. Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery
At the same time he built up Prussia's military power and participated in theFirst Partition of Poland with Austria and Russia (1772), an act that geographically connected the Brandenburg territories with those of Prussia proper. During this period, he also opened Prussia's borders to immigrants fleeing from religious persecution in other parts of Europe, such as the Huguenots. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery
Prussia became a safe haven in much the same way that the United States welcomed immigrants seeking freedom in the 19th century.
Frederick the Great, the first "King of Prussia", practised enlightened absolutism. He introduced a general civil code, abolished torture, and established the principle that the Crown would not interfere in matters of justice. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery
He also promoted an advanced secondary education, the forerunner of today's German gymnasium (grammar school) system, which prepares the brightest students for university studies. The Prussian education system was emulated in various countries, including the United States.
During the reign of King Frederick William II (1786–1797), Prussia annexed additional Polish territory through further Partitions of Poland. His successor, Frederick William III (1797–1840), announced the union of the Prussian Lutheran and Reformed churchesinto one church. Sony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery
Prussia took a leading part in the French Revolutionary Wars, but remained quiet for more than a decade due to the Peace of Basel of 1795, only to go once more to war with France in 1806 as negotiations with that country over the allocation of the spheres of influence in Germany failed. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery
Prussia suffered a devastating defeat against Napoleon Bonaparte's troops in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, leading Frederick William III and his family to flee temporarily to Memel. Under theTreaties of Tilsit in 1807, the state lost about one third of its area, including the areas gained from the second and third Partitions of Poland, Sony VAIO VPCF13M0E/B battery
which now fell to the Duchy of Warsaw. Beyond that, the king was obliged to pay a large indemnity, to cap his army at 42,000 men, and to allow French troops to be garrisoned throughout Prussia, effectively making the Kingdom a French satellite.
In response to this defeat, reformers such as Stein and Hardenberg set about modernising the Prussian state. Sony VAIO VPCYB2M1E battery
Among their reforms were the liberation of peasants from serfdom, the Emancipation of Jews and making full citizens of them. The school system was rearranged, and in 1818 free trade was introduced. The process of army reform ended in 1813 with the introduction of compulsory military service. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E battery
After the defeat of Napoleon in Russia, Prussia quit its alliance with France and took part in the Sixth Coalition during the "Wars of Liberation" (Befreiungskriege) against the French occupation. Prussian troops under Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher contributed crucially in the Battle of Waterloo of 1815 to the final victory over Napoleon. Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E battery
Prussia's reward in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna was the recovery of her lost territories, as well as the whole of the Rhineland, Westphalia, and some other territories. These western lands were to be of vital importance because they included the Ruhr Area, the centre of Germany's fledgling industrialisation, especially in the arms industry. Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B battery
These territorial gains also meant the doubling of Prussia's population. In exchange, Prussia withdrew from areas of central Poland to allow the creation of Congress Poland under Russian sovereignty.
Prussia emerged from the Napoleonic Wars as the dominant power in Germany, Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery
overshadowing long-time rival Austria, which had abdicated the imperial crown in 1806. In 1815 Prussia became part of the German Confederation.
The first half of the 19th century saw a prolonged struggle in Germany between liberals, who wanted a united, federal Germany under a democratic constitution, and conservatives, Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E/R Battery
who wanted to maintain Germany as a patchwork of independent, monarchical states, with Prussia and Austria competing for influence. One small movement that signaled a desire for German unification in this period was theBurschenschaft student movement, by students who encouraged the use of the black-red-gold flag, Sony VAIO VPCF23P1E Battery
discussions of a unified German nation, and a progressive, liberal political system. Because of Prussia's size and economic importance, smaller states began to join its free trade area in the 1820s. Prussia benefited greatly from the creation in 1834 of the German Customs Union (Zollverein), which included most German states but excluded Austria. Sony VAIO VPCF23N1E Battery
In 1848 the liberals saw an opportunity when revolutions broke out across Europe. Alarmed, King Frederick William IV agreed to convene a National Assembly and grant a constitution. When the Frankfurt Parliament offered Frederick William the crown of a united Germany, Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery
he refused on the grounds that he would not accept a crown from a revolutionary assembly without the sanction of Germany's other monarchs.
The Frankfurt Parliament was forced to dissolve in 1849, and Frederick William issued Prussia's first constitution by his own authority in 1850. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/G battery
This conservative document provided for a two-house parliament. The lower house, or Landtag was elected by all taxpayers, who were divided into three classes whose votes were weighted according to the amount of taxes paid. Women and those who paid no taxes had no vote. Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery
This allowed just over one-third of the voters to choose 85% of the legislature, all but assuring dominance by the more well-to-do men of the population. The upper house, which was later renamed the Herrenhaus ("House of Lords"), was appointed by the king. He retained full executive authority and ministers were responsible only to him. HP Compaq 393652-001 Battery
As a result, the grip of the landowning classes, the Junkers, remained unbroken, especially in the eastern provinces.
In 1862 King Wilhelm I appointed Otto von Bismarck as Prime Minister of Prussia. Bismarck was determined to defeat both the liberals and conservatives and increase Prussian supremacy and influence among the German states. HP Compaq 395790-001 Battery
There has been much debate as to whether Bismarck actually planned to create a united Germany when he set out on this journey, or whether he simply took advantage of the circumstances that fell into place. Certainly his memoirs paint a rosy picture of an idealist, but these were written with the benefit of hindsight. HP Compaq 395790-003 Battery
What is clear is that Bismarck curried support from large sections of the people by promising to lead the fight for greater German unification. He eventually guided Prussia through three wars which together brought William the position of German Emperor.
The Kingdom of Denmark was at the time in personal union with the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, HP Compaq 395790-132 Battery
both of which had close ties with each other, although only Holstein was part of the German Confederation. When the Danish government tried to integrate Schleswig, but not Holstein, into the Danish state, Prussia led the German Confederation against Denmark in theFirst War of Schleswig (1848–1851). HP Compaq 395790-163 Battery
Because Russia supported Austria, Prussia also conceded predominance in the German Confederation to Austria in the Punctation of Olmütz in 1850.
In 1863, Denmark introduced a shared constitution for Denmark and Schleswig. This led to conflict with the German Confederation, HP Compaq 395791-001 Battery
which authorized the occupation of Holstein by the Confederation, from which Danish forces withdrew. In 1864, Prussian and Austrian forces crossed the border between Holstein and Schleswig initiating the Second War of Schleswig. The Austro-Prussian forces defeated the Danes, who surrendered both territories. HP Compaq 395791-002 Battery
In the resulting Gastein Convention of 1865 Prussia took over the administration of Schleswig while Austria assumed that of Holstein.
Bismarck realized that the dual administration of Schleswig and Holstein was only a temporary solution, and tensions rose between Prussia and Austria. HP Compaq 395791-003 Battery
The struggle for supremacy in Germany then led to the Austro-Prussian War (1866), triggered by the dispute over Schleswig and Holstein.
On the Austrian side stood the south German states (including Bavaria and Württemberg), some central German states (including Saxony), and Hanover in the north. HP Compaq 395791-132 Battery
On the side of Prussia were Italy, most north German states, and some smaller central German states. Eventually, the better-armed Prussian troops won the crucial victory at the Battle of Königgrätz under Helmuth von Moltke the Elder. The century-long struggle between Berlin and Vienna for dominance of Germany was now over. HP Compaq 395791-142 Battery
As a side show in this war, Prussia defeated Hanover in the Battle of Langensalza. While Hanover hoped in vain for help from Britain (as they had previously been in personal union), Britain stayed out of a confrontation with a continental superpower and Prussia satisfied its desire for merging the once separate territories and gaining strong economic and strategic power, particularly from the full access to the resources of the Ruhr. HP Compaq 395791-251 Battery
Bismarck desired Austria as an ally in the future, and so he declined to annex any Austrian territory. But in the Peace of Prague in 1866, Prussia annexed four of Austria's allies in northern and central Germany—Hanover, Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), Nassau and Frankfurt. HP Compaq 395791-261 Battery
Prussia also won full control of Schleswig-Holstein. As a result of these territorial gains, Prussia now stretched uninterrupted across the northern two-thirds of Germany and contained two-thirds of Germany's population. The German Confederation was dissolved, and Prussia impelled the 21 states north of the Main River into forming the North German Confederation. HP Compaq 395791-661 Battery
Prussia was the dominant state in the new confederation, as the kingdom comprised almost four-fifths of the new state's territory and population. Prussia's near-total control over the confederation was secured in the constitution drafted for it by Bismarck in 1867. Executive power was held by a president, assisted by a chancellor responsible only to him. HP Compaq 395791-741 Battery
The presidency was a hereditary office of the Hohenzollern rulers of Prussia. There was also a two-house parliament. The lower house, or Reichstag (Diet), was elected by universal male suffrage. The upper house, or Bundesrat (Federal Council) was appointed by the state governments. The Bundesrat was, in practice, the stronger chamber. HP Compaq 395794-001 Battery
Prussia had 17 of 43 votes, and could easily control proceedings through alliances with the other states.
As a result of the peace negotiations, the states south of the Main remained theoretically independent, but received the (compulsory) protection of Prussia. HP Compaq 395794-002 Battery
Additionally, mutual defense treaties were concluded. However, the existence of these treaties was kept secret until Bismarck made them public in 1867, when France tried to acquire Luxembourg.
The controversy with the Second French Empire over the candidacy of a Hohenzollern to the Spanish throne was escalated both by France and Bismarck. HP Compaq 395794-261 Battery
With his Ems Dispatch, Bismarck took advantage of an incident in which the French ambassador had approached William. The government of Napoleon III, expecting another civil war among the German states, declared war against Prussia, continuing Franco-German enmity. HP Compaq 396751-001 Battery
Honouring their treaties, however, the German states joined forces and quickly defeated France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Following victory under Bismarck's and Prussia's leadership, Baden, Württemberg, and Bavaria — which had remained outside the North German Confederation — accepted incorporation into a united German Empire. HP Compaq 397809-001 Battery
The empire was a "Lesser German" solution (in German, "kleindeutsche Lösung") to the question of uniting all German-speaking peoples into one state, because it excluded Austria, which remained connected to Hungary and whose territories included non-German populations. HP Compaq 397809-003 Battery
On 18 January 1871 (the 170th anniversary of the coronation of King Frederick I), William was proclaimed "GermanEmperor" (not "Emperor of Germany") in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles outside Paris, while the French capital was still under siege.
The two decades after the unification of Germany were the peak of Prussia's fortunes, but the seeds for potential strife were built into the Prusso-German political system. HP Compaq 397809-242 Battery
The constitution of the German Empire was a slightly amended version of the North German Confederation's constitution. Officially, the German Empire was a federal state. In practice, Prussia's relationship with the rest of the empire was somewhat confusing. The Hohenzollern kingdom included three-fifths of the German territory and two-thirds of its population. HP Compaq 398650-001 Battery
The Imperial German Army was, in practice, an enlarged Prussian army, although the other kingdoms (Bavaria, Saxony, and Württemberg) retained their own armies. The imperial crown was a hereditary office of the House of Hohenzollern, the royal house of Prussia. HP Compaq 398680-001 Battery
The prime minister of Prussia was, except for two brief periods (January–November 1873 and 1892–94), also imperial chancellor. But the empire itself had no right to collect taxes directly from its subjects; the only incomes fully under federal control were the customs duties, common excise duties, and the revenue from postal and telegraph services. HP Compaq 398854-001 Battery
While all men above age 25 were eligible to vote in imperial elections, Prussia retained its restrictive three-class voting system. This effectively required the king/emperor and prime minister/chancellor to seek majorities from legislatures elected by two different franchises. HP Compaq 398874-001 Battery
In both the kingdom and the empire, the original constituencies were never redrawn to reflect changes in population, meaning that rural areas were grossly overrepresented by the turn of the 20th century.
As a result, Prussia and the German Empire were something of a paradox. HP Compaq 398875-001 Battery
Bismarck knew that his new German Reich was now a colossus out of all proportion to the rest of the continent. With this in mind, he declared Germany a satisfied power, using his talents to preserve peace, for example at the Congress of Berlin. Bismarck had barely any success in some of his domestic policies, HP Compaq 398876-001 Battery
such as the anti-Catholic Kulturkampf, but he also had mixed success on ones like Germanization or expulsion of Poles of foreign nationality (Russian or Austro-Hungarian).
Frederick III was emperor for just 99 days in 1888 upon the death of his father, dying from cancer. HP Compaq 360482-001 Battery
At age 29, William became Emperor William II after a difficult youth and conflicts with his British mother Victoria, Princess Royal. He turned out to be a man of limited experience, narrow and reactionary views, poor judgment, and occasional bad temper, which alienated former friends and allies. HP Compaq 360483-001 Battery
Prussia nationalized its railways in the 1880s in an effort both to lower rates on freight service and to equalize those rates among shippers. Instead of lowering rates as far as possible, the government ran the railways as a profitmaking endeavor, and the railway profits became a major source of revenue for the state. HP Compaq 360483-003 Battery
The nationalization of the railways slowed the economic development of Prussia because the state favored the relatively backward agricultural areas in its railway building. Moreover, the railway surpluses substituted for the development of an adequate tax system. HP Compaq 360483-004 Battery
Because of the German Revolution of 1918, William II abdicated as German Emperor and King of Prussia. Prussia was proclaimed a "Free State" (i.e. a republic, German: Freistaat) within the new Weimar Republic and in 1920 received a democratic constitution.HP Compaq 360484-001 Battery
Almost all of Germany's territorial losses, specified in the Treaty of Versailles, were areas that had been part of Prussia: Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium; North Schleswig to Denmark; the Memel Territory to Lithuania; theHultschin area to Czechoslovakia. Many of the areas which Prussia had annexed in the partitions of Poland, HP Compaq 361909-001 Battery
such as the Provinces of Posen and West Prussia, as well as eastern Upper Silesia, went to the Second Polish Republic.Danzig became the Free City of Danzig under the administration of the League of Nations. Also, the Saargebiet was created mainly from formerly Prussian territories. HP Compaq 361909-002 Battery
East Prussia became an exclave, only reachable by ship (theSea Service East Prussia) or by a railway through the Polish corridor.
The German government seriously considered breaking up Prussia into smaller states, HP Compaq 364602-001 Battery
but eventually traditionalist sentiment prevailed and Prussia became by far the largest state of the Weimar Republic, comprising 60% of its territory. With the abolition of the older Prussian franchise, it became a stronghold of the left. Its incorporation of "Red Berlin" and the industrialised Ruhr Area — both with working-class majorities — ensured left-wing dominance. HP Compaq 365750-001 Battery
From 1919 to 1932, Prussia was governed by a coalition of the Social Democrats, Catholic Centre, and German Democrats; from 1921 to 1925, coalition governments included the German People's Party. Unlike in other states of the German Reich, majority rule by democratic parties in Prussia was never endangered. HP Compaq 365750-003 Battery
Nevertheless, in East Prussia and some industrial areas, the National Socialist German Workers Party (or Nazi Party) of Adolf Hitler gained more and more influence and popular support, especially from the lower middle class. Except for Roman Catholic Prussian Upper Silesia, HP Compaq 365750-004 Battery
the Nazi Party in 1932 became the largest party in most parts of the Free State of Prussia. However, the democratic parties in coalition remained a majority, while Communists and Nazis were in the opposition.
The East Prussian Otto Braun, who was Prussian minister-president almost continuously from 1920 to 1932, is considered one of the most capable Social Democrats in history. HP Compaq 367457-001 Battery
He implemented several trend-setting reforms together with his minister of the interior, Carl Severing, which were also models for the later Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). For instance, a Prussian minister-president could be forced out of office only if there was a "positive majority" for a potential successor. HP Compaq 372771-001 Battery
This concept, known as the constructive vote of no confidence, was carried over into the Basic Law of the FRG. Most historians regard the Prussian government during this time as far more successful than that of Germany as a whole.
In contrast to its prewar authoritarianism, Prussia was a pillar of democracy in the Weimar Republic. HP Compaq 372772-001 Battery
This system was destroyed by the Preußenschlag ("Prussiancoup") of Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen. In this coup d'état, the government of the Reich unseated the Prussian government on 20 July 1932, under the pretext that the latter had lost control of public order in PrussiaHP Compaq 381373-001 Battery
(during the Bloody Sunday of Altona, Hamburg, which was still part of Prussia at that time). Papen appointed himself Reich commissioner for Prussia and took control of the government. The Preußenschlag made it easier, only half a year later, for Adolf Hitlerto take power decisively in Germany, HP Compaq 381374-001 Battery
since he had the whole apparatus of the Prussian government, including the police, at his disposal.
After the appointment of Hitler as the new chancellor, the Nazis used the absence of Franz von Papen as an opportunity to appoint Hermann Göring federal commissioner for the Prussian ministry of the interior. HP Compaq 382553-001 Battery
The Reichstag election of March 5, 1933 strengthened the position of the Nazi Party, although they did not achieve an absolute majority.
Because the Reichstag building had been set on fire a few weeks earlier, the new Reichstag was opened in the Garrison Church ofPotsdam on March 21, 1933 in the presence of President Paul von Hindenburg. HP Compaq 383220-001 Battery
In a propaganda-filled meeting between Hitler and the Nazi Party, the "marriage of old Prussia with young Germany" was celebrated, to win over the Prussian monarchists, conservatives, and nationalists and induce them to vote for the Enabling Act of 1933. HP Compaq 383510-001 Battery
In the centralised state created by the Nazis in the "Law on the Reconstruction of the Reich" ("Gesetz über den Neuaufbau des Reiches", 30 January 1934) and the "Law on Reich Governors" ("Reichsstatthaltergesetz", 30 January 1935) the states were dissolved, in fact if not in law. HP Compaq 385843-001 Battery
The federal state governments were now controlled by governors for the Reich who were appointed by the chancellor. Parallel to that, the organisation of the party into districts (Gaue) gained increasing importance, as the official in charge of a Gau (the head of which was called a Gauleiter) was again appointed by the chancellor who was at the same time chief of the Nazi Party. HP Compaq 385895-001 Battery
In Prussia, this centralistic policy went even further. From 1934 almost all ministries were merged and only a few departments were able to maintain their independence. Hitler himself became formally the governor of Prussia. His functions were exercised, however, by Hermann Göring, as Prussian prime minister. HP Compaq 393549-001 Battery
As provided for in the "Greater Hamburg Law" ("Groß-Hamburg-Gesetz"), certain exchanges of territory took place. Prussia was extended on 1 April 1937, for instance, by the incorporation of the Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck. HP Compaq 408545-001 Battery
The Prussian lands transferred to Poland after the Treaty of Versailles were re-annexed during World War II. However, most of this territory was not reintegrated back into Prussia but assigned to separate Gaue of Danzig-West Prussia and Wartheland.
With the end of Nazi rule in 1945 came the division of Germany into Zones of Occupation, HP Compaq 408545-141 Battery
and the transfer of control of everything east of the Oder-Neisse line, (including Silesia, Farther Pomerania, Eastern Brandenburg, and southern East Prussia), to Poland, with the northern third of East Prussia, including Königsberg, now Kaliningrad, going to the Soviet Union. HP Compaq 408545-142 Battery
Today the Kaliningrad Oblast is a Russian exclave between Lithuania and Poland. During the Soviet Army's takeover of eastern Germany an estimated ten million Germans fled, were expelled from (or were not able to return) to these territories as part of the Potsdam Agreement and the sanctioned German exodus from Eastern Europe. HP Compaq 408545-241 Battery
As part of their war aims the Western allies sought the abolition of Prussia. Stalin was initially content to retain the name, Russia having a different historical view of its neighbour and sometime former ally. In Law #46 of February 25, 1947 the Allied Control Council formally proclaimed the dissolution of Prussia. HP Compaq 408545-261 Battery
In the Soviet Zone of Occupation, which became East Germany in 1949, the former Prussian territories were reorganised into the states of Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt, with the remaining parts of the Province of Pomerania going to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. HP Compaq 408545-262 Battery
These states were abolished in 1952 in favour of districts, but were recreated after the fall of the Eastern Bloc in 1990.
In the Western Zones of occupation, which became West Germany in 1949, the former Prussian territories were divided up amongNorth Rhine-Westphalia, HP Compaq 408545-621 Battery
Lower Saxony, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Schleswig-Holstein. Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern were later merged with Baden to create the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a small number of ethnic Germans from Kazakhstan have begun to settle in theKaliningrad exclave of Russia, HP Compaq 408545-721 Battery
once northern East Prussia, as part of the migration influx into the area, which was previously a restricted area (closed city). As of 2005, about 6,000 (0.6% of population) ethnic Germans, mostly from other parts of Russia, live there.
After German reunification in 1990, a plan was developed to merge the States of Berlin and Brandenburg. HP Compaq 408545-741 Battery
Though some suggested calling the proposed new state "Prussia", no final name was proposed, and the combined state would probably have been called either "Brandenburg" or "Berlin-Brandenburg". However this proposed merger was rejected in 1996 by popular vote, achieving a majority of votes only in former West Berlin. HP Compaq 408545-761 Battery
In the mid-16th century, the margraves of Brandenburg had become highly dependent on the estates (counts, lords, knights and towns, no prelates due to theProtestant Reformation in 1538). The margraviate's liabilities and tax income as well as the margrave's finances were controlled by the Kreditwerk, HP Compaq 409357-001 Battery
an institution not controlled by the elector, and the Großer Ausschuß ("Great Committee") of the estates. This was due to concessions made by Joachim II in 1541 in turn for financial aid by the estates, however, the Kreditwerk went bankrupt between 1618 and 1625.The margraves further had to yield the veto of the estates in all issues concerning the "better or worse of the country",HP Compaq 409357-002 Battery
in all legal commitments, and in all issues concerning pawn or sale of the elector's real property.
To reduce the influence of the estates, Joachim Frederick in 1604 created a council called Geheimer Rat für die Kurmark ("Privy Council for the Electorate"), which instead of the estates was to function as the supreme advisory council for the elector. HP Compaq 412779-001 Battery
While the council was permanently established in 1613, it failed to gain any influence until 1651 due to the Thirty Years' War.
Until after the Thirty Years' War, the territories of Brandenburg-Prussia were politically independent from each other, connected only by the common feudal superior. HP Compaq 415306-001 Battery
Frederick William, who envisioned the transformation of the personal unioninto a real union, started to centralize the Brandenburg-Prussian government with an attempt to establish the Geheimer Ratas a central authority for all territories in 1651, but this project proved to be unfeasible. HP Compaq 418867-001 Battery
Instead, the elector continued to appoint a governor (Kurfürstlicher Rat) for each territory, who in most cases was a member of the Geheimer Rat. The most powerful institution in the territories remained the governments of the estates (Landständische Regierung, named Oberratsstubein Prussia and Geheime Landesregierung in Mark and Cleves), HP Compaq 418871-001 Battery
which were the highest government agencies regarding jurisdiction, finances and administration. The elector attempted to balance the estates' governments by creating Amtskammer chambers to administer and coordinate the elector's domains, tax income and privileges. HP Compaq 441675-001 Battery
Such chambers were introduced in Brandenburg in 1652, in Cleves and Mark in 1653, in Pomerania in 1654, in Prussia in 1661 and in Magdeburg in 1680. Also in 1680, theKreditwerk came under the aegis of the elector.
Frederick William's excise tax (Akzise), which since 1667 replaced the property tax raised in Brandenburg for Brandenburg-Prussia's standing army with the estates' consent, HP Compaq 443884-001 Battery
was raised by the elector without consultation of the estates. The conclusion of the Second Northern War had strengthened the elector politically, enabling him to reform the constitution of Cleves and Mark in 1660 and 1661 to introduce officials loyal to him and independent of the local estates. HP Compaq 443885-001 Battery
In the Duchy of Prussia, he confirmed the traditional privileges of the estates in 1663, but the latter accepted the caveat that these privileges were not to be used to interfere with the exertion of the elector's sovereignty. As in Brandenburg, Frederick William ignored the privilege of the Prussian estates to confirm or veto taxes raised by the elector: HP Compaq 446398-001 Battery
while in 1656, an Akzisewas raised with the estates' consent, the elector by force collected taxes not approved by the Prussian estates for the first time in 1674. Since 1704, the Prussian estates had de facto relinquished their right to approve the elector's taxes while formally still entitled to do so. HP Compaq 446399-001 Battery
In 1682, the elector introduced an Akzise to Pomerania and in 1688 to Magdeburg, while in Cleves and Mark an Akzise was introduced only between 1716 and 1720. Due to Frederick William's reforms, the state income increased threefold during his reign, and the tax burden per subject reached a level twice as high as in France. HP Compaq 451085-121 Battery
Under the rule of Frederick III (I), the Brandenburg Prussian territories were de facto reduced to provinces of the monarchy. Frederick William's testament would have divided Brandenburg-Prussia among his sons, yet firstborn Frederick III with the emperor's backing succeeded in becoming the sole ruler based on theTreaty of Gera, which forbade a division of Hohenzollern territories. HP Compaq 451085-141 Battery
In 1689, a new central chamber for all Brandenburg-Prussian territories was created, called Geheime Hofkammer (since 1713: Generalfinanzdirektorium). This chamber functioned as a superior agency of the territories' Amtskammer chambers.The General War Commissariat (Generalkriegskommissariat) emerged as a second central agency, HP Compaq 451085-661 Battery
superior to the local Kriegskommissariat agencies initially concerned with the administration of the army, but until 1712 transformed into an agency also concerned with general tax and police tasks.
The Kingdom of Prussia was an absolute monarchy until the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, HP Compaq 451086-001 Battery
after which Prussia became aconstitutional monarchy and Adolf Heinrich von Arnim-Boitzenburg was elected as Prussia's first prime minister. FollowingPrussia's first constitution, a two-house parliament was formed. The lower house, or Landtag was elected by all taxpayers, who were divided into three classes according to the amount of taxes paid. HP Compaq 451086-121 Battery
This allowed just over 25% of the voters to choose 85% of the legislature, all but assuring dominance by the more well-to-do elements of the population. The upper house, which was later renamed the Prussian House of Lords, was appointed by the king. He retained full executive authority and ministers were responsible only to him. HP Compaq 451086-161 Battery
As a result, the grip of the landowning classes, the Junkers, remained unbroken, especially in the eastern provinces. Prussian Secret Police, formed in response to the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, aided the conservative government.
Unlike its authoritarian pre-war predecessor, Prussia was a promising democracy within Germany. HP Compaq 451086-621 Battery
The abolition of the aristocracy transformed Prussia into a region strongly dominated by the left wing of the political spectrum, with "Red Berlin" and the industrial centre of the Ruhr Area exerting a major influence. During this period, a coalition of centre-left parties ruled, predominantly under the leadership of East Prussian Social Democrat Otto Braun. HP Compaq 451086-661 Battery
While in office he implemented several reforms together with his Minister of the Interior, Carl Severing, which were also models for the later Federal Republic of Germany. For instance, a Prussian prime minister could only be forced out of office if there was a "positive majority" for a potential successor. HP Compaq 451568-001 Battery
This concept, known as the constructive vote of no confidence, was carried over into the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. Most historians regard the Prussian government during this time as far more successful than that of Germany as a whole. HP Compaq 456864-001 Battery
Similar to other German states both now and at the time, executive power was continued to be vested in a Minister-President of Prussia and laws established by aLandtag elected by the people.
The Free State of Prussia (German: Freistaat Preußen) was a German state formed after the abolition of theKingdom of Prussia in the aftermath of World War I. HP Compaq 456865-001 Battery
It was the major state of Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic, comprising almost 5/8 (62.5%) of its territory and population. Free state is a German term for republicthat was coined in contrast to the Latin word, which was associated with the enemy France in the minds of many Germans of that time. HP Compaq 458640-542 Battery
The democratic Free State of Prussia was rendered incapacitated when it was taken over by a coup in 1932–1933 andOtto Braun was forced from office. His government went to court over this ouster, but in 1933 the Nazi regime seized control of the Prussian government. HP Compaq 464119-142 Battery
The Nazi Free State had no parliamentary democracy and was ruled exclusively under the leadership of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party). Prussia was administered by high-ranking Nazi member Hermann Göring from 1933 to 1935, who retained the title until 1945. HP Compaq 464119-143 Battery
Prussia was dismantled into regional Gaue in 1935, effectively ending it as a single territorial unit of Germany, although the Free State continued to exist in name throughout the Nazi era.
After the end of World War II Otto Braun approached U.S. officials to reinstate the legal Prussian government. HP Compaq 464119-162 Battery
They and the other Allied Occupation forces, who had occupied all of Germany, were opposed to the idea and declaredPrussia abolished in 1947.
Except for its overseas colonies and Alsace-Lorraine and the Bavarian parts of the Saargebiet, all German territorial losses as a result of World War I were Prussian losses. HP Compaq 464119-361 Battery
As specified in the Treaty of Versailles, the former kingdom lost territory to Belgium (Eupen and Malmedy), Denmark (North Schleswig), Lithuania (Memel Territory) and Czechoslovakia (the Hultschin area). The Saargebiet was administered by the League of Nations. The Rhine Province became a demilitarised zone. HP Compaq 464119-362 Battery
The bulk of Prussia’s losses were to Poland, including most of the provinces of Posen and West Prussia, and an eastern section of Siliesia. Danzig was placed under the administration of the League of Nations as the Free City of Danzig. HP Compaq 464119-363 Battery
These losses separated East Prussia from the rest of the country, now only accessible by rail through thePolish corridor or by sea.
Since it contained so much of Germany's area and population, the government initially considered breaking Prussia up into smaller and more manageable states, HP Compaq 482962-001 Battery
but eventually traditionalist sentiment prevailed and Prussia continued unchanged, apart from its territorial losses.
The restrictive Prussian three-class franchise was abolished shortly after Kaiser William II abdicated. As a result, Prussia became a stronghold of the left. HP Compaq 484786-001 Battery
Its incorporation of "Red Berlin" and the industrialised Ruhr Area — both with working-class majorities — ensured left-wing dominance.
From 1919 to 1932, Prussia was governed by a coalition of the Social Democrats, Catholic Centre, and German Democrats; HP Compaq 484787-001 Battery
from 1921 to 1925, coalition governments included the German People's Party. Unlike in other states of the German Reich, majority rule by democratic parties in Prussia was never endangered. Nevertheless, in East Prussia and some industrial areas, the National Socialist German Workers Party (or Nazi Party) ofAdolf Hitler gained more and more influence and popular support, especially from the lower middle class. HP Compaq 490306-001 Battery
The East Prussian Otto Braun, who was Prussian minister-president almost continuously from 1920 to 1932, is considered one of the most capable Social Democrats in history. He implemented several trend-setting reforms together with his minister of the interior, Carl Severing, which were also models for the later Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). HP Compaq 491278-001 Battery
For instance, a Prussian minister-president could be forced out of office only if there was a "positive majority" for a potential successor. This concept, known as the constructive vote of no confidence, was carried over into the Basic Law of the FRG. Largely because of this provision, the centre-left coalition was able to stay in office because neither the far left nor the far right could possibly put together a majority. HP Compaq 491279-001 Battery
In marked contrast to its prewar authoritarianism, Prussia was a pillar of democracy in the Weimar Republic. Most historians[who?] regard the Prussian government during this time as far more successful than that of Germany as a whole.
All of this changed on 20 July 1932 with the Preußenschlag ("Prussian coup"),HP Compaq 491654-001 Battery
where Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen unseated the democratic Free State of Prussia government under Otto Braun under the pretext that it had lost control of public order. This was triggered by a shootout between SA demonstrators and communists in Altona, Hamburg (Altona Bloody Sunday; Altona was still a part of Prussia at that time). HP Compaq 491657-001 Battery
After this emergency decree, Papen appointed himself Reich Commissioner for Prussia and took control of the government. This made it easy for Adolf Hitler to assume control over Prussia in the following year.
Otto Braun's government filed suit in the courts, but the cases remained unresolved due to the war and the subsequent Allied occupation and partition of Germany. HP Compaq 496897-001 Battery
On 30 January 1933, Hitler had been appointed chancellor of Germany. As part of the deal, Papen was formally appointed minister-president of Prussia in addition to his role as Vice Chancellor of the Reich. In a little-noticed appointment, Hitler's top lieutenant Hermann Göring became the state's interior minister. HP Compaq 408545-001 Battery
Four weeks later (27 February 1933), the Reichstag was set on fire. At Hitler's urging, President Paul von Hindenburg issued the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended civil liberties in Germany. Six days after the fire, the Reichstag election of March 5, 1933 strengthened the position of the Nazi Party, HP Compaq 408545-141 Battery
although they did not achieve an absolute majority. However, with their coalition partners, the German National People's Party, Hitler now commanded a bare majority in the Reichstag. Göring figured prominently in this election, as he was commander of the largest police force in the Reich. HP Compaq 408545-142 Battery
His police beat and harassed the other parties (especially the Communists and Social Democrats), and only allowed the Nazis and Nationalists to campaign relatively unmolested.
The new Reichstag was opened in the Garrison Church of Potsdam on March 21, 1933 in the presence of President Paul von Hindenburg, who had long since descended into senility. HP Compaq 408545-241 Battery
In a propaganda-filled meeting between Hitler and the NSDAP, the "marriage of old Prussia with young Germany" was celebrated, to win over the Prussian monarchists, conservatives, and nationalists and induce them to vote for the Enabling Act. The act was passed on 23 March 1933, legally granting Hitlerdictatorial powers. HP Compaq 408545-261 Battery
In April 1933, Papen was visiting the Vatican. The Nazis took advantage of his absence and appointed Göring in his place. With this act, Hitler was able to take power decisively in Germany, since he now had the whole apparatus of the Prussian government, including the police, at his disposal. HP Compaq 408545-262 Battery
By 1934 almost all Prussian ministries had been merged with the corresponding Reich ministries.
In the centralized state created by the Nazis in the "Law on the Reconstruction of the Reich ("Gesetz über den Neuaufbau des Reiches", 30 January 1934) HP Compaq 408545-621 Battery
and the "Law on Reich Governors" ("Reichsstatthaltergesetz", 30 January 1935) the States and Provinces of Prussia were dissolved, in fact if not in law. The federal state governments were now controlled by governors for the Reich who were appointed by the Chancellor. Parallel to that, the organization of the party into districts (Gau) HP Compaq 408545-721 Battery
gained increasing importance, as official in charge of a Gau (the infamous Gauleiter) was again appointed by the Chancellor who was at the same time chief of the NSDAP. Hitler appointed himself formally as Governor of Prussia, although his functions were exercised by Göring. HP Compaq 408545-741 Battery
The leadership positions of Reichsstatthalter and Minister-President which were both held by Hermann Göring continued to exist but were subservient to the Nazi regime. Some changes were still made to Prussian provinces after this time. For example, the Greater Hamburg Act of 1937 transferred some territory from the provinces of Hanover and Schleswig-HP Compaq 408545-761 Battery
Holstein to Hamburg while at the same time annexing Hamburgian Geesthacht and the Hanseatic City of Lübeck to Schleswig-Holstein as well as Hamburgian Cuxhaven to the Province of Hanover. Other redeployments took place in 1939, involving cessions of Prusso-Hanoveran HP Compaq 409357-001 Battery
suburban municipalities to Bremen and in return the annexation of Bremian Bremerhaven to the Province of Hanover. Also Hanoveran Wilhelmshaven was ceded to Oldenburg. In 1942 redeployments involved the provinces of Saxony and Hanover and the Brunswick. HP Compaq 409357-002 Battery
The Prussian lands transferred to Poland after the Treaty of Versailles were reannexed during World War II. However, most of this territory was not reintegrated back into Prussia but assigned to separate Gaue of the Nazi Germany.
With the end of National Socialist rule in 1945 came the division of Germany into Zones of Occupation, HP Compaq 412779-001 Battery
and the transfer of control of everything east of theOder-Neisse line to other countries. As was the case after World War I, almost all of this territory had been Prussian territory (a small portion of the land east of the revised border had belonged to Saxony). Most of the land went to Poland and the northern third of East Prussia, HP Compaq 415306-001 Battery
including Königsberg, nowKaliningrad was annexed by the Soviet Union. The losses represented nearly two fifths of Prussian territory and nearly a quarter of territory within Germany's pre-1938 borders. An estimated ten million Germans fled or were forcibly expelled from these territories as part of the German exodus from Eastern Europe. HP Compaq 418867-001 Battery
What remained of Prussia comprised both a little over half of the remaining German territory and a little over half of Prussia's pre-1914 territory. In Law #46 of 25 February 1947, the Allied Control Council formally proclaimed the dissolution of the Prussian state. Although the Allies cited Prussia's history ofmilitarism as their main justification for dissolving Prussia, HP Compaq 418871-001 Battery
its continued existence would have proven impractical following the onset of the Cold War and that conflict's division of Germany.
Unlike its authoritarian pre-war predecessor, Prussia was a promising democracy within Germany. HP Compaq 441675-001 Battery
The abolition of the aristocracy transformed Prussia into a region strongly dominated by the left wing of the political spectrum, with "Red Berlin" and the industrial centre of the Ruhr Area exerting a major influence. During this period, a coalition of centre-left parties ruled, predominantly under the leadership of East Prussian Social Democrat Otto Braun. HP Compaq 443884-001 Battery
While in office he implemented several reforms together with his Minister of the Interior, Carl Severing, which were also models for the later Federal Republic of Germany. For instance, a Prussian prime minister could only be forced out of office if there was a "positive majority" for a potential successor。HP Compaq 443885-001 Battery
This concept, known as the constructive vote of no confidence, was carried over into the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. Most historians regard the Prussian government during this time as far more successful than that of Germany as a whole. HP Compaq 446398-001 Battery
Similar to other German states both now and at the time, executive power was continued to be vested in a Minister-President of Prussia and laws established by aLandtag elected by the people.
The Wilhelmine Period comprises the period between 1890 and 1918, embracing the reign of Wilhelm II and the First World War. HP Compaq 446399-001 Battery
By Wilhelminism is not meant a conception of society associated with the name Wilhelm, and traceable to an intellectual initiative of the German Emperor. Rather, it relates to the image presented by Wilhelm II, and his demeanour, manifested by the public presentation of grandiose military parades, HP Compaq 451085-121 Battery
and self-aggrandisement on his part, this latter tendency having not been unknown to his grandfather Wilhelm I and Bismarck during the period that Wilhelm’s father was Crown Prince. He continued to implement measures against Socialist ideas. His policies, founded on his imperial ambitions, HP Compaq 451085-141 Battery
and directed towards the establishment of Germany as a world power, achieved a short-lived high point at the beginning of theFirst World War, following the acquisition of some colonial possessions in the South Seas and on the African continent.
The distinctive spiked helmet, the so-called Pickelhaube, although it had existed previously, HP Compaq 500764-001 Battery
and not only in the German Empire, was symbolic for this period, and for the imperial army and German military (in various sign languages, the extended forefinger placed in front of the forehead, indicating the spiked helmet, is still the sign for “German”). HP Compaq 500765-001 Battery
Wilhelm’s fascination for the German Navy, and his ambition to see it established as an instrument for the projection of world power, were reflected in everyday German life. Until the middle of the twentieth century, boys were dressed in sailor suits, and in this way were impressed at an early age with the Navy’s aura and prestige. HP Compaq 501870-001 Battery
In principle, the dismissal of Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor of Germany in 1890 marks the beginning of the period. The end of Wilhelminism is associated with the end of the First World War in 1918, and the Emperor’s abdication. HP Compaq 513129-121 Battery
The term Wilhelminism also characterizes the social and cultural climate of the reign of Wilhelm II, which found expression in rigidly conservative attitudes. At the same time, the period was distinguished by an extraordinary belief in progress, which, while contributing to the enormous prosperity of the German Empire, was at odds with its social conservatism. HP Compaq 513129-141 Battery
The term is equally applied to styles prevailing in the visual arts and architecture of the period. It is used to describe, among other things, an essentially neo-Baroque, extraordinarily prestige-oriented style calculated to give expression to the German state’s claim to imperial power. HP Compaq 513129-421 Battery
This style was particularly exemplified by the grandiose Siegesallee, lampooned by Berliners as the Puppenallee (“street of the dolls”), and was given official status by Wilhelm’s so-called “Rinnsteinrede“ (“gutter speech”) on what he considered modernist degenerate art at the inauguration of the extravagant boulevard on December 18, 1901. HP Compaq 532497-221 Battery
The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War (in Germany also known as German War, Seven Weeks War, Unification War, Prussian–German War, German Civil War or Fraternal War) was a war fought in 1866 between theGerman Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its HP Compaq 532497-241 Battery
German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the other, that resulted in Prussian dominance over the German states. In the Italian unification process, this is called the Third Independence War.
The major result of the war was a shift in power among the German states away from Austrian and towards Prussianhegemony, HP Compaq 532497-421 Battery
and impetus towards the unification of all of the northern German states in a Kleindeutschland that excluded Austria. It saw the abolition of the German Confederation and its partial replacement by a North German Confederation that excluded Austria and the South German states. HP Compaq 572186-001 Battery
The war also resulted in the Italian annexation of the Austrian province of Venetia.
For centuries, the Holy Roman Emperors who mostly came from the Habsburg family had nominally ruled all of "Germany", the Holy Roman Empire. In fact, however, the territory of Central Europe was split into a few large states and hundreds of tiny entities, HP Compaq 572187-001 Battery
each jealously maintaining its de facto sovereignty and independence with the assistance of outside powers, particularly France. Austria, the personal territory of the Habsburg Emperors, was traditionally considered the leader of the German states, HP Compaq 572188-001 Battery
but Prussia was becoming increasingly powerful and by the late 18th century was ranked as one of the great powers of Europe. The Empire was formally disbanded in 1806 when the political makeup of Central Europe was re-organised by Napoleon. The German states were drawn into the ambit of the Confederation of the Rhine (Rheinbund) HP Compaq 572189-001 Battery
which was forced to submit to French influence until the defeat of the French Emperor. After the Napoleonic Wars had ended in 1815, the German states were once again reorganized into a loose confederation: the German Confederation, under Austrian leadership. HP Compaq 572190-001 Battery
In the meantime, partly in reaction to the triumphant French nationalism of Napoleon I, and partly as an organic feeling of commonality glorified during the romantic era, German nationalism became a potent force during this period. The ultimate aim of most German nationalists was the gathering of all Germans under one state. HP Compaq 572191-001 Battery
Two different ideas of national unification eventually came to the fore. One was a "Greater Germany" (Großdeutsche Lösung) that would include all German-speaking lands, including and dominated by the multi-national empire of Austria; the other (preferred by Prussia) was a "Lesser Germany" (Kleindeutsche Lösung) that would exclude even the German parts of Austria and be dominated by Prussia. HP Compaq 583256-001 Battery
The pretext for precipitating the conflict was found in the dispute between Prussia and Austria over the administration of Schleswig-Holstein. When Austria brought the dispute before the German diet and also decided to convene the Holstein diet, Prussia, declaring that the Gastein Convention had thereby been nullified, invaded Holstein. HP Compaq 586031-001 Battery
When the German diet responded by voting for a partial mobilization against Prussia, Bismarck declared that the German Confederation was ended.
There are many different interpretations of Otto von Bismarck's behavior prior to the Austrian-Prussian war, HP Compaq HSTNN-IB51 Battery
which concentrate mainly on whether the "Iron chancellor" had a master plan that resulted in this war, the North German confederation, and eventually the unification of Germany.
Bismarck maintained that he orchestrated the conflict in order to bring about the North German Confederation, the Franco-Prussian War and the eventual unification of Germany. HP Compaq HSTNN-IB52 Battery
However, historians such as A. J. P. Taylor dispute this interpretation and believe that Bismarck did not have a master plan, but rather was an opportunist who took advantage of the favourable situations that presented themselves. Taylor thinks Bismarck manipulated events into the most beneficial solution possible for Prussia. HP Compaq HSTNN-IB55 Battery
Possible evidence can be found in Bismarck's orchestration of the Austrian alliance during the Second Schleswig War against Denmark, which can be seen as his diplomatic "masterstroke." Taylor also believes that the alliance was a "test for Austria rather than a trap" HP Compaq HSTNN-IB62 Battery
and that the goal was not war with Austria, contradicting what Bismarck later gave in his memoirs as his main reason for establishing the alliance. It was in Prussia's best interests to gain an alliance with Austria so that the combined allied force could easily defeat Denmark and thus settle the issue of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB05 Battery
The alliance can, therefore, be regarded as an aid to Prussian expansion, rather than a provocation of war against Austria. Many historians believe that Bismarck was simply a Prussian expansionist, rather than a German nationalist who sought the unification of Germany. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB08 Battery
It was later at the convention of Gastein that the Austrian alliance was set up to lure Austria into war.
Bismarck had also set up an alliance with Italy committing it to the war if Prussia entered one against Austria within three months.HP Compaq HSTNN-LB0E Battery
This treaty virtually guaranteed a commitment on Bismarck's side to muster up a war with Austria within these three months in order to ensure Austria's full strength would not be attacking Prussia. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB11 Battery
The timing of declaration was perfect because all other European powers were bound by alliances that forbade them from entering or had domestic problems that had priority. Britain had no stake economically or politically in a potential war between Prussia and Austria. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 Battery
Russia was unlikely to enter on the side of Austria due to ill will following Austrian support of the anti-Russian alliance during the Crimean War, and Prussia had stood by Russia during the Polish revolts whereas Austria had not. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB52 Battery
France was also unlikely to enter on the side of Austria because Bismarck and Napoleon III met in Biarritz and allegedly discussed whether or not France would intervene in a potential Austro-Prussian war. The exact content discussed is unknown, but many historians think Bismarck was guaranteed French neutrality in the event of a war. HP Compaq HSTNN-MB05 Battery
Finally, Italy was already in an alliance with Prussia, which meant that Austria would be fighting their combined power with no allies of its own. Bismarck was aware of his numerical superiority, but still "he was not prepared to advise it immediately even though he gave a favourable account of the international situation." HP Compaq HSTNN-OB06 Battery
Bismarck may well have been encouraged to go to war by the advantages that the Prussian army enjoyed over that of the Austrian Empire. To oppose this view, Taylor believes that Bismarck was reluctant to go to war as it "deprived him of control and left the decisions to the generals whose ability he distrusted." HP Compaq HSTNN-OB52 Battery
(The two most important personalities within the Prussian army were War Minister Albrecht Graf von Roon and Chief of the General Staff Helmuth Graf von Moltke.) Taylor suggested that Bismarck was hoping to force Austrian leaders into concessions in Germany rather than provoke war. HP Compaq HSTNN-OB62 Battery
The truth may be more complicated than simply that Bismarck, who famously said that "politics is the art of the possible," initially sought war with Austria or was initially against the idea of going to war with Austria.
In 1862, von Roon had implemented several army reforms (and to do so had been instrumental in ensuring that Bismarck was appointed Chancellor). HP Compaq HSTNN-UB05 Battery
Roon ensured that all Prussian citizens were liable to conscription. Before this date, the size of the army had been fixed by earlier laws that had not taken population growth into account, making conscription inequitable and unpopular for this reason. While some Prussian men remained in the army or the reserves until they were forty years old, HP Compaq HSTNN-UB11 Battery
about one man in three (or even more in some regions where the population had expanded greatly as a result of industrialisation) escaped with only token service in the Landwehr, a loosely organized home guard.
Universal conscription, combined with an increase in the term of active service from two years to three years, dramatically increased the size of the army. HP Compaq HSTNN-UB18 Battery
It also provided Prussia with a reserve army equal in size to that which Moltke actually deployed against Austria. Had France under Napoleon III attempted to intervene in force on Austria's side, the Prussians could have faced him with equal or superior numbers of troops. HP Compaq HSTNN-UB68 Battery
The three-year term of active service, during which troops were continually trained and drilled, also ensured a better standard of training and discipline than that of the Austrian army, particularly in the infantry. HP Compaq HSTNN-W42C Battery
Some Austrian commanders still dismissed infantry conscripts to their homes on permanent leave soon after their induction into the army, retaining a cadre of long-term soldiers for formal parades and routine duties.
The conscripts sent on leave had to be trained almost from scratch when they were recalled to their units on the outbreak of war.HP Compaq HSTNN-W42C-A Battery
The Austrian cavalry and artillery however were as well-trained as their Prussian counterparts. Austria possessed two incomparable divisions of heavy cavalry, but weapons and tactics had advanced since the Napoleonic Wars and heavy cavalry were no longer a decisive arm on the battlefield. HP Compaq HSTNN-W42C-B Battery,HP Compaq HSTNN-XB0E Battery,HP Compaq HSTNN-XB11 Battery